Why am I thankful this season?
With all the recent conversations about Immigration Reform, I’ve approached this Thanksgiving season with an extreme sense of gratitude and appreciation. According to the 2010 Census, there are an estimated 975,000 people of Haitian ancestry in the U.S. During this time I’ve thought about my own personal story and how I’ve personally benefited from immigration laws. Thirty-five years ago, both of my parents decided to change the trajectory of their lives and confront fear. Although this journey could have led to death they both risked it all and set sail across the Caribbean Sea from Haiti in search of a better life. It is because of their fearlessness, I stand here today as a proud Haitian-American.
It was important for my parents that their children uphold Haitian values. Every summer and Christmas my parents would send me to Haiti to ensure I was infused with the Haitian customs and culture. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from this experience is the power of having a giving mindset. My brother and many close relatives still reside in Haiti, so I know first hand the impact the earthquake has had on the lives of Haitian people. I’ve personally donated to the rebuilding efforts but was yearning for a way to support the people of Haiti in a more economic sustainable and impactful way.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime
I come from a lineage of entrepreneurs and as a serial entrepreneur myself I know first hand owning a business is the way to economic freedom. I recently came across Macy’s Heart of Haiti campaign that seem to meet the need of providing Haitian business owners with a more sustainable form of income.
Macy’s went to Haiti shortly after the January 12, 2010 earthquake and realized that despite the devastation there was an artist community that existed and was eager to bring their product to market. Macy’s launched a product line for sale at Macys.com across many stores in the U.S. This launch has employed 400 artists to date. To put this into perspective, the average Haitian’s annual income is only $400 – for a year! Add to that, Haiti has an estimated 400,000 artisans (out of a 10M population) who rely solely on their handcrafted goods as a source of income. No other sector of employment even approaches such numbers.
It takes a Village: What can you do to help?
As a member of the Everywhere Society I was gifted the Heart of Haiti Metal Waves Texture Tray. All metal items from the Heart of Haiti collection are created using steel oil drums that are hammered and chiseled and sculpted to create unique pieces like the ones you see on Macys.com. When you employ one artist in Haiti, the entire community benefits. Over 500 artists employed benefitting over 3,000 members of their extended family. Macy’s paved the way in helping to rebuild this important sector.
During this holiday season you have a chance to say thank you by giving back and making a difference in the lives of Haitian artisans by ordering your very own Heart of Haiti art piece by visiting http://bit.ly/1vkHSia.
Heart of Haiti can be found and followed on social media at @HeartofHaiti on Twitter and http://www.facebook.com/heartofhaiti on Facebook.
I am a member of the Everywhere Society and they provided me with this product for review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.